Women's hoops set for River City Rumble on Thursday
Junior guard Courtney Jackson
Junior guard Courtney Jackson
After scoring more than 70 points for the fourth straight game, the JU women’s basketball team (8-7, 4-2) will begin a two-game road trip close to home as the Dolphins face UNF (2-13, 1-5) for the first installment of the SunTrust River City Rumble on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The contest, which will be the first of a scheduled doubleheader with the JU men, can be seen live on A-Sun.TV by logging on to JU leads the all-time series against UNF, 5-1, including a 53-38 win on Jan. 19, 2008 at UNF Arena. The Dolphins have won the last four meetings between the two programs.

Dolphin notables
Junior forward Desarae Johnson moved into fifth place on the JU all-time blocks list with 60, surpassing Yolisha Jackson (51, 2000-05)...JU has now scored at least 70 points in four consecutive games…against Kennesaw State, Johnson tallied a career-high 19 points and five blocks to go with 11 rebounds to notch her first career double-double…junior guard Courtney Jackson finished with 11 points and five rebounds while senior guard Virginia Gregoire rounded out the Dolphin scoring with 11 points and added six rebounds and four assists…senior guard Regina Omoite notched game highs with seven assists and three steals…freshman forward Teneskei Richardson set a season high with nine points...against Mercer, five Dolphins scored in double figures as JU shot a game-high 47.5 percent from the floor (including a blistering 58.1 percent in the first half) while tallying a season-high 12 blocks…Johnson led the Dolphins with a career-high 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor while also tying a career-high with four blocks…Omoite flirted with the program’s first triple-double but fell just short with 13 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and five steals…junior forward Crystal Grable finished with 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field, seven rebounds and a career-high five blocks…Jackson had 11 points and Hamilton chipped in with 10 points.

D.J. is mixing it up
Junior forward Desarae Johnson had been in the shadow of forward Ashley Williams for her first two seasons but is now currently the team’s emotional leader. Mostly a role player off of the bench, Johnson has found her niche this year on the offensive end while continuing to patrol the middle of the defense with her shot-blocking ability. Johnson, who has started 13-of-15 contests this year, is enjoying a career season by averaging 7.6 points per contest while leading the A-Sun by shooting 53.1 percent from the floor. Most of her opportunities come from mid-range jumpers which makes her accuracy even more impressive. Last week, Johnson averaged 16.5 points, seven rebounds and 4.5 blocks while shooting 65.2 percent from the floor (15-23). Against Mercer, she started the week off by tallying career-bests with 14 points, four blocks and four steals while shooting 6-of-8 from the floor in a 78-60 win. Against Kennesaw State, she upped the ante even more by tallying her first career double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds) while adding a career-high five blocks and two steals in a 70-56 win. Defensively, she ranks second on the squad with 21 blocks and is fourth in the conference with 1.4 blocks per game. Her four blocks against Mercer moved her into fifth on the JU all-time list, surpassing Yolisha Jackson (51, 2000-05).

Grable is more than able
Junior forward Crystal Grable had also been in the shadow of forward Ashley Williams for her first two seasons but is enjoying a career season in the post. One of the most athletic players on the squad, Grable has put her strength and quickness to use by tallying 4.5 points and 4.5 rebounds while ranking third in the A-Sun with 1.47 blocks per contest. Grable has solidified herself in the starting lineup in the last four games and has blossomed. During that span, she is averaging 8.8 point, eight rebounds and 2.5 blocks per contest while shooting 60.9 percent from the floor (14-23). She also tallied her first second career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds at ETSU.

Dolphins getting offensive
The Dolphins had a less than spectacular start to the 2008-09 season and a big part of that was their inability to put the ball in the basket. Through its first 11 games in which the squad went 5-6, JU shot 35 percent from the floor, 27.3 percent from beyond the arc, 70.5 percent from the free-throw line to average 55.7 points per game. Included in the Dolphins’ early winter was a 2-4 start to the year in which JU shot 32.4 percent from the field, 22.5 percent from beyond the arc and 68.1 percent from the line for an average of 50.5 points per contest. JU also put up its lowest scoring total in the Jill Dunn era with 43 points against Kansas State on Nov. 28 at Swisher Gymnasium. Lately, the Dolphins have gotten their offensive swagger back and it has led to a 3-1 record. During that span, JU is shooting 43.4 percent from floor, 35.2 percent from the 3-point line and 75.4 percent of its free throws to average 75.8 points per game. JU has notched 70 points in four consecutive games, including a season-best 78 points in back-to-back contests (USC Upstate, Mercer). The streak is the second longest in program history, behind the seven-game stretch combining over two seasons (March 8-Nov. 23, 2008).